The Norman Transcript

Government

March 4, 2013

Oklahoma adoptee speaks out for change in law

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Lewis said some will call him a traitor, ungrateful or disloyal. He’s none of those things. He loves his family, but not knowing his genetic heritage left a hole inside of him.

“I felt loved, but I felt incomplete,” he said. “No one could have filled that.”

Lewis was afraid to seek his birth mother out for fear she had died.

“It wasn’t that I didn’t want to know. The first thing I ever told her is that I’m sorry I didn’t search you out,” he said. “And then I asked to see her fingernails.

“I didn’t know anyone who had fingernails like mine until I met Jackie. My skin was darker, my hair was darker. There were visual cues,” he said. “You feel different. There’s no one you can really talk to about it, and you don’t really know what you’re feeling or why you’re feeling that way.

“It’s nice to not feel like a ghost anymore.”

Lewis believes the Truth in Adoption Act will benefit adoptees by allowing them access to important medical information and giving them an opportunity for closure.

“First off, it’s long overdue,” he said. “I think it’s important not just for reasons of medical history, but for the identity of those kids, a healthy identity that they understand who they are.”

Lewis said adopted children have a higher-than-average percentage of emotional and psychological issues. Many of them act out with alcohol and drugs or in other ways.

“Luckily, I didn’t fall into the statistic tangent a lot of adopted children do, but I do remember developing a little bit slower than other children,” he said.

“Whatever it was when lawmakers decided the framework of how adoption should be handled back then, I don’t understand it,” he said. “It was almost a protection mechanism. The silly thing is, what were we really protecting? I don’t see why it is necessary, fit or proper to deny anyone the right to know their origin. To me that is a fundamental right that we should all enjoy.”

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